The Adventure Begins

 

The Adventure Begins


I am finally getting back to normal, and I love it! I was in such a bad spot with that depressive episode. Sleep was impossible, but that was all I wanted to do. I couldn’t sleep because my mind would not stop racing with all these horrible negative thoughts. I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere, or even see anyone. I just wanted to disappear, and I was making plans to do so. I don’t think I ever felt that low in my life. I thought it was going to last forever, that I would be trapped inside my own mind thinking all these crazy things. Continue reading

Looking Up: For Today

Looking Up: For Today


I am too scared to say that my depression has lifted because I don’t want to get my hopes up. What I can say is that, for today, things are looking up. Just because I have had one good day, for the first time in weeks, does not mean that I am miraculously cured, but I guess it’s a start, right? Continue reading

Common Early Warning Signs of Mania or Hypomania

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The list below is of common early warning signs that may help you recall the changes you experience when a manic/hypomanic episode is about to occur.  If you find it difficult to identify your early warning signs, you might discuss this with a trusted friend, family member, therapist or doctor. They can give you helpful feedback about what changes they notice in your behavior when you are in or beginning an episode of elevated mood.

Some of the most frequent early warning signs of mania have been found to be less sleep and increased activity.

Here are some examples of common early warning signs of elevated mood:

Changes in behaviour

  • –  more focused on goals and projects
    – start more new things, projects or plans at one time
    – making lots of new friends
    – more energy
    – more activity
    – more outgoing
    – disagree more with others
    – talk faster/more talkative
    – speech may be louder
    – changes in sleep – sleeping less than usual but not feeling tired, waking during the night, staying up later than       normal

Changes in feelings

  • – lots more energy
    – feel more self-confident and self-assured than usual
    – feeling like you can do anything
    – an increase in sex drive (hypersexuality)
    – irritable
    – anxious
    – feeling very important and special
    – feelings of euphoria and elation

Changes in thoughts and perception

  • – colors may seem brighter and more intense
    – lots of new ideas, projects, goals and plans
    – thoughts of being more attractive to others
    – experience hallucinations or delusions (in mania only)

The Difference Between Mania and Hypomania

The major difference between hypomania and mania are that hypomania is briefer and less intense than mania.  Hypomania is not associated with psychosis (loss of touch with reality or hallucinations) or hospitalization. Full blown mania is more severe and at times, requires hospitalization.

Elevated Mood in Mania or Hypomania

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The changes that occur when your mood is elevated (and when becoming elevated) happen in three related areas – in your thoughts, your feelings and your actions.  When your mood is elevated, your activity in these three areas can be very uncharacteristic of how you are when you are well (at your baseline/stable mood). Sometimes individuals who experience mania may report having hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that no one else can see or hear), or delusions (interpreting things in the world differently from ‘normal’ people).

These changes might occur gradually (building up a little bit at a time), or may be more sudden (out of no where).  For some they tend to occur following a depressive episode.

An elevated mood can be a seductive thing, with feelings of being overly self-confident and feeling elated. However, the fallout from an episode of mania can have devastating consequences. Such as realizing that you blew your whole life savings, noticing that you maxed out all your credit cards, and for women: finding out that you are pregnant or that you contracted an STD due to hypersexuality which tends to happen during manic/hypomanic episodes.

In mania and hypomania, there is a cycle of energy that can become more and more severe as your mood increases.

You can find yourself pursuing more and more projects and ideas. However, none of these projects usually get completed. the energy levels in a manic/hypomanic episode are such that it can be hard to stay focused on one task for any period of time. You might also find that you tend to do more things you find enjoyable, such as shopping, gambling, or socializing.  Doing more things increases the energy and fuels the cycle to spiral up even further.

Within this cycle, there are a number of factors at play that interact with each other, and the things happening in your life, to feed the elevated mood cycle. These relate again to three key parts of your experience:

  • How you think
  • How you feel
  • How you act